The review protocol has been registered within the Open Science Framework database (osf/io/PRX8E) and is being reported in accordance with the reporting guidance provided in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols (PRISMA-P) statement  (see checklist in Additional file 1). The proposed scoping review will be reported in accordance with the report- ing guidance provided in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) . Research objectives, inclusion criteria, and methodological techniques will be deter- mined before study commencement using the Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewers’ Manual 2015 Methodology for JBI Scoping Reviews . This process will adhere to the indicated framework: 1) identifying research question; 2) developing com- prehensive search strategy; 3) identifying relevant studies; 4) selecting studies; 5) charting data; and 6) collating, summarizing and reporting results. The study team will develop a search strategy as recommended by the 2015 Methodology for JBI Scoping Reviews.
This scoping review will be conducted by 13 individuals: 12 researchers from several universities worldwide, from a range of disciplines (e.g. medicine, sociology, demography, public health, criminology, economics, psychology, epidemiology), and an informationist from the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University. The objective of the scoping review is to develop a better under- standing of the current research landscape around sexual health and COVID-19 by investigating existing studies and gaps in the research. The broad research questions are “what has been reported on sexual health in the COVID-19 era?” and “what are the gaps in the current knowledge base on sexual health and COVID-19 across diverse populations, including marginalized groups?” The search strategy will be performed in line with techniques that enhance methodological transparency and improve the reproducibility of the results and evidence synthesis.
Information sources and search strategy
The primary source of literature will be a structured search of electronic databases (from January 2020 onwards): MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science Core Collection, Africa-Wide Information, Gender Studies Database, Gender Watch, Global Health, WHO Global Literature on Coronavirus Disease Database, WHO Global Index Medicus, and Sociological Abstracts. The secondary source of potentially relevant material will be a search of preprint servers (e.g. medRxiv.org, PsyArXiv.org), Disaster Lit, Google Scholar (e.g. the first five pages will be searched), governmental websites and clinical trials registries (e.g. Clinical- Trial.gov, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Plat- form and International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number registry). The references of included documents will be hand-searched to identify any addi- tional evidence sources. The search strategy will be designed by a research librarian and peer reviewed by using the Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies (PRESS) checklist . A draft search strategy for MEDLINE is provided in Additional file 2. We will use search terms similar to our main search to find articles for inclusion.
The same keywords for the main search will be used to search grey literature each time. All grey literature will be compiled in a folder and reviewed similarly to ar- ticles obtained from our database searches. EndNote, a bibliographic software, will be used to store, organize, and manage all references .
We will include all studies with all study designs involving COVID-19 and sexual health. Only English language studies will be considered for inclusion. Past work indicated that excluding non-English language records from a review seemed to have a minimal effect on results [20, 21].
Published research (peer reviewed and grey literature where primary data was col- lected such as reports, research letters and briefs) investigating sexual health and COVID-19 in all populations, settings and study designs e.g. studies with small samples, quantitative and qualitative studies, will be eligible for inclusion. We will include studies focusing on sex workers, LBTQIA persons, and persons at risk for HIV, even if these studies do not examine sexual health specifically. Primary out- comes will include how the COVID-19 pandemic affects sexual health, both effects of the lockdown and the biological impact of the virus on sexual health and how the COVID-19 pandemic affects sexual minorities. Primary outcomes will not include reproductive health, intimate partner violence and gender-based violence alone.
There will be no restrictions on age, region, or gender.
Studies reported only as conference abstracts will be included, only if we do not have access to the full paper. Conference abstracts are often left out of systematic reviews as they may not contain adequate information to conduct quality assess- ment or a meta-analysis. Here, we will include conference abstracts as they are often published earlier than full manuscripts , which is key to a thorough scoping re- view on an ongoing phenomenon.
Commentaries, correspondences, case reports, case series, editorials, and opinion pieces will be excluded. Case reports and case series often contain relatively limited evidence .
Governmental or other agency guidelines will be excluded.
Reviews such as systematic reviews and scoping reviews will be excluded, but we will review the references in these for inclusion, if applicable.
Screening and selection procedure
All reports identified from the searches will be screened by two reviewers indepen- dently. First, titles and abstracts of articles returned from initial searches will be screened based on the eligibility criteria outlined above. Second, full texts will be examined in detail and screened for eligibility. Third, references of all considered articles will be hand-searched to identify any relevant report missed in the search strategy. Any disagreements will be resolved by discussion, or if necessary, with a third reviewer. A flow chart showing details of studies included and excluded at each stage of the study selection process will be provided. We will contact authors where necessary if the abstracts do not provide sufficient information . Covidence will be used to manage the title/abstract and full-text screening phases .
Reviewers will undergo a practice exercises till they have a high level of agree- ment (>0.8 kappa) and then independently extract data from studies. Reviewers will abstract the data using a pretested data extraction template. We will use a standardized coding protocol to collect information such as: title of study, authors, date published; author affiliation as a measure to ascertain the discipline focus of the study and collaborating institutions; study setting; study design; description of methodology; description of study sample; definition or type of sexual health studied (if any); measurements and scales used; main findings; funder information; journal title; submission variant (research letter, short report, original article etc.). Even though a formal risk of bias is not planned for this scoping review, we will note which studies are pre-prints, and thus, have not been formally peer reviewed.
Outcomes and other information collected regarding selected studies will be synthe- sized using quantitative (e.g. frequencies) and qualitative (e.g. content and thematic analysis) methods, with a narrative summary of findings conducted. Synthesis will be presented in tables, summary data in graphs, and individual data for each study in tables. The broad goal of the synthesis is to identify gaps in research and present recommendations for future research agendas.